Jersey has extended the interim fishing regime which allows certain French vessels to fish in Jersey waters following the UK's exit from the EU.
An interim arrangement was agreed in January, to allow French fishing boats with a licence to continue to fish in Jersey waters while the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) licence system was being set-up.
Following a request from the EU, Jersey ministers have agreed to extend this transitional arrangement to 30 June 2021. This is to give some smaller fishing boats more time to prove the required track-record needed for a TCA licence. The extension applies only to smaller vessels that do not have a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).
Larger, VMS-enabled vessels have the data to prove they meet TCA conditions. These vessels must have a licence issued by the Minister of the Environment to be able to fish in Jersey waters after 30 April 2021. No further extension will be considered, but the relevant vessels may submit data (and receive licences) after 30 June 2021.
Jersey’s Minister for External Relations, Senator Ian Gorst, said: “We have agreed to this extension as a way of demonstrating our support for fishers of all nationalities in the Bay of Granville. We do not want the UK’s exit from the EU to affect our relationship with France, Normandy or Brittany and therefore I am happy to again extend the hand of friendship across the water.
“I hope this extension will support a smooth transition process, and I would ask our EU and French colleagues to support Jersey vessels and exporters as they adjust to the new rules for exporting and direct landing.”
Jersey’s Minister for the Environment, Deputy John Young, said: “I was fully prepared to agree a short extension to maintain good relations at this difficult time but felt it was important to attach two requests to the extension.
“First that the French authorities designate the port of Granville as a border post as soon as possible to expedite the export of Jersey produce. Granville is a very important port for the entire area, and we are aware of the outstanding EU commitment to operate a Border Control Post there.
“Jersey acknowledges the support of the Normandy authorities and we would like a timetable for the operation and acceptance of appropriate species, including molluscs and other wild caught species.
“Secondly, we have asked that a pragmatic approach be taken with respect to the way the new third-country paperwork regime is administered in France, to ease friction in our direct landings.
“I have every hope that this demonstration of goodwill will be reciprocated by our French neighbours, and that we will see improvements for Jersey fishers and traders when landing their goods into French ports.”